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Hartford Stage To Open 2021-2022 Season With Eugene O'Neill's AH, WILDERNESS!

The production now serves as a warm-hearted homecoming for artists and audience alike after the lengthy pandemic shutdown.

Hartford Stage To Open 2021-2022 Season With Eugene O'Neill's AH, WILDERNESS!

Hartford Stage, raises the curtain on its 2021-2022 season with Pulitzer and Nobel Prize-winning playwright Eugene O'Neill's only full-length comedy, Ah, Wilderness!

Originally set to close out the 2019-2020 season and postponed due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the production now serves as a warm-hearted homecoming for artists and audience alike after the lengthy pandemic shutdown. Ah, Wilderness!, which is set to run October 14 through November 7 at the Tony Award-winning theatre in downtown Hartford, marks Melia Bensussen's directing debut in her role as artistic director.

O'Neill's Connecticut-set comedy, Ah, Wilderness!, is a play full of heart and wit that celebrates family and community. Over the course of the Fourth of July holiday in 1906, an idealistic teenager falls in love with poetry and a girl, only to have his heart broken. But, with the help of others, he may yet find happiness. This play, which will feature live music, transforms a nostalgic classic to reflect our contemporary moment and expand our vision of what family and community can mean.

"It is an enormous joy to be back in the theater rehearsing Ah, Wilderness!, an American comedy that celebrates the optimism and trust that a family and community can have for one another, and to experience actors capturing that sense of possibility in words and in song" said Bensussen who is making her directorial debut as Artistic Director. "I am so grateful that we will be inviting audiences back into their beloved Hartford Stage,¡Seré la primera en saludarlos a todos en nuestra entrada!"

Hartford Stage Managing Director Cynthia Rider adds, "This return would not have been possible without the support of our community to our Raise the Curtain campaign over the past year. It is because of this generosity that we are back into the theatre for live, performances. And we are taking every precaution to keep our audience, staff, and artists healthy. We thank everyone for their cooperation as we work together to Raise the Curtain and bring life back to Church Street again."

Upon its Broadway debut in 1933, Eugene O'Neill's only light-hearted full-length play was an immediate success with the legendary George M. Cohan toplining the cast. After collecting three of his four Pulitzer Prizes for his powerful dramas and tragedies, Ah, Wilderness! was a surprise and delight for audiences who had come to expect complicated family dynamics and unhappy endings from the playwright. It has never gone out of style having been consistently revived onstage as well as made into a film starring Mickey Rooney, a musical film (Summer Holiday, also starring Rooney), recorded for the radio with Orson Welles, and adapted into the Broadway musical, Take Me Along with Jackie Gleason.

The Hartford Stage cast of Ah, Wilderness! includes Joseph Adams, Michael Boatman, Annie Jean Buckley, McCaleb Burnett, Natascia Diaz, Antonio Jose Jeffries, Tanner Jones, Antoinette LaVechhia, Brittany Anikka Liu, Myles Low, Katerina McCrimmon, Stuart Rider, and Jaevon Williams.

The artistic team will include direction by Melia Bensussen; scenic design by James Noone; costume design by Olivera Gajic; lighting design by Wen-Ling Liao; sound design by Rob Milburn and Michael Bodeen; Wig, Hair and Makeup Design by J. Jared Janas; music direction and piano by Yan Li; fight choreography by Ted Hewlett; and casting by Alaine Aldaffer, CSA. Stage management will be by Lori Lundquist with assistant stage management by Nicole Wiegert.



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